Fife paper bag specialist makes £3 million investment

Smith Anderson – the UK’s largest manufacturer of paper bags – has invested £3 million in state-of-the-art machinery to increase capacity at its factory in Kirkcaldy.


The investment, which includes a £450,000 Regional Selective Assistance grant from Scottish Enterprise, will allow the company to increase capacity and target new customers.

Smith Anderson, founded in 1859 with the purchase of the Fettykil Paper Mill in Leslie, will create 22 new jobs as part of an investment project, ensuring it remains the market-leading paper bag manufacturer in both Scotland and Europe.


Speaking after a visit to the company yesterday (Wednesday 26 February), Scottish Government Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn said: “Not only will this grant support jobs in Fife, it will also allow Smith Anderson to achieve more cost-effective production and increase their capacity, thanks to thie new start-of-the-art machinery.


“It’s crucial that we continue to invest in our manufacturing industry and support innovation across Scotland to grow the economy, which we’re doing through the £65 million National Manufacturing Institute Scotland initiative.”


The machinery investment will allow Smith Anderson to deliver even more cost-effective production whilst increasing foundational machine capacity and operational output.


It will also allow the company, which now employs 243 staff, to target new customers as well as ensuring it meets the constantly increasing demands of its existing clients.


Smith Anderson’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Longstaffe, said: “After a number of extremely challenging years, during which we continued to invest, we can now celebrate the arrival of this new equipment.  It consolidates our European market-leading position, encourages growth and supports the hard work and dedication we enjoy from what is a fabulous ‘Team Smith Anderson’.


“I am extremely proud of the company, what we have achieved and how well we have been supported by Scottish Enterprise in this process.”


Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) funding is a discretionary grant aimed at helping projects that will create or protect jobs in Scotland.  Click for more information and to find out if you are eligible to apply.



Longannet redevelopment moves forward as council welcomes TALGO UK

Fife Council welcomed  Spanish train manufacturer TALGO UK  at a community event at Kincardine Community Centre on 19 February.


From L to R Cllr David Alexander, John Veitch (MD of TALGO UK), Shirley-Anne Sommerville MSP, Carlos de Palacio (President & Chairman of TALGO UK) and Cllr David Ross.

The company, which continues to make plans for a major train manufacturing plant at Longannet, showcased one of TALGO’s 205kph coaches, featuring world-beating and unique ‘Rodal’ technology.


In October 2019, TALGO signed a jointly agreed framework with Scottish Enterprise and Transport Scotland to establish Longannet as a manufacturing base for TALGO UK.


Fife Council Co-Leader, Cllr David Ross, said: “The Longannet site is nationally significant and critically important locally. TALGO UK’s plans build upon the work of the Longannet Taskforce, whose focus has been to support the wider regeneration of the area following the power station’s closure in 2016.


“This location, which has driven past industrial revolutions, will once again be a catalyst towards business activity that drives a renewed innovation-led economy.”


TALGO UK intends to reinvigorate the UK supply-chain and source from it wherever possible.  TALGO’s ‘True Manufacturing’ approach means that, instead of assembling from kits of parts from overseas, a UK supply-chain is used.  This protects more local jobs and keeps more money in the local, regional and UK economies.


TALGO UK is keen to ensure that the benefits of TALGO’s unique technology is better appreciated, and that local people are aware of the potential opportunities in the area.


Fife Council Co-Leader, Cllr David Alexander, added: “Fife Council welcomes this latest step forward in creating employment and economic opportunities in Kincardine and beyond.


“Approximately 74 hectares of the site are available for investors into the Kingdom and will boost the economy within South and West Fife and across the wider region.


“Around 1,000 highly skilled jobs are expected to be created at Longannet. The Longannet site and its infrastructure connections will also give rise to significant opportunities across the wider area.”


The plans to regenerate the site of Scotland’s last coal-fuelled power station also support the Fife Council’s wider aim of reducing carbon emissions.


TALGO is bringing its technology to the UK, as part of a programme to explain new technologies, to transfer knowledge to the UK and to boost UK domestic capacity for Research and Development.

Making Glenrothes a Living Wage Town Project shows success

A recent survey has shown that the number of employees in the Glenrothes area earning below the real Living Wage has fallen.


According to the lastest results from the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, in 2019 the number of employees paid less than the real Living Wage in Fife as a whole fell by 7.4%.


Councillor Fiona Grant and other members of the Action Group launch the ‘Making Glenrothes a Living Wage Town’ campaign in August 2019.

The Glenrothes Area saw an even greater reduction, the number of employees earning below the real Living Wage falling by 11% compared with the year before.


Councillor Fiona Grant, a member of the Glenrothes Living Wage Action Group said:  “I’m delighted the recently released statistics show that the Glenrothes area has performed comparatively well.  It is a positive indication that the campaign to Make Glenrothes a Living Wage Town is having an impact.


“Over the relatively short time since the campaign began in August 2019, the number of employers who have been accredited as real Living Wage employers has increased to 18.


“This represents increased wages for around 1,000 employees in the Glenrothes area.


“It’s great to see the wide range of businesses who have committed themselves to supporting their employees and community.  They include FLEXcon, Kingdom Community Bank, Blueprint Recruitment, DPS Group, McDonald Water Storage and many others.


“If you are an employer interested in joining the scheme, go to to find out more.”


Blueprint Recruitment John McBain, Director  said: “This accreditation provides Blueprint Recruitment with a recognised standard which shows we are not only committed, but we practice what we preach. We are passionate about living up to our mission statement to ‘deliver excellence and set the market standard’.


“Glenrothes is the first town in the UK to take this innovative approach and it really demonstrates how a small town can lead the way. Local businesses like Blueprint Recruitment play a key role in making our community a great place to work.  We’re proud to be one of them.”


Jamie Stewart Managing Director McDonald Water Storage said: “Over the last ten years we have successfully navigated the challenges facing the industry and our employees have played a significant role in this achievement.


“Quality remains at the forefront of all our activities and our staff must be good at what they do because we supply some very prestigious companies. It’s important that they are rewarded well and that they feel their skills are valued.  Becoming an accredited Living Wage employer demonstrates our commitment to our staff and will also encourage similar companies in our sector to consider becoming Living Wage employers.”




Businesses invited to input to new masterplan for Glenrothes town centre

Businesses in the centre of Glenrothes are invited to have their say in the development of a new masterplan for regenerating the town centre.


Businesses can input to the masterplan in two ways:


  • Attending a drop-in workshop event taking place between 2pm and 7pm on Friday 21 February in the Enterprise Hub Fife, 1 Falkland Gate, Glenrothes.  Members of the design team will be on hand to answer questions and discuss ideas and there will be a series of presentations and focussed discussions along with displays. Click to download the draft programme of discussion sessions.




Work starts on Fife’s flagship City Region Deal Programme

Fife’s flagship Industrial Innovation Investment Programme is now taking shape as construction work starts on nine new business units at Queensway Industrial Estate in Glenrothes.


Fife’s ten-year £48.4 million Industrial Innovation Investment Programme will deliver much-needed new industrial buildings, offices and serviced sites in key locations in Mid and South Fife.


The Programme is expected to create 1,000 new skilled permanent jobs and almost 600 short-term construction jobs over a period of 15 years.


The Programme forms part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, a partnership of Scottish and UK Governments, local authorities and universities that will transform the regional economy. Through the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, regional partners will secure more than £1.3 billion of investment for the area over the next 15 years.


The programme is already boosting the economy through construction activity.


Scottish Government Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson MSP said:  “Since 2014, we have committed £1.8 billion to City Deals and associated investment to drive growth that will deliver significant and lasting economic benefits for individuals, businesses and communities across the country.


“These deals benefit Scotland as a whole, creating thousands of jobs and upskilling local labour markets.  They truly have the power to build on the area’s significant strengths and expertise, as we are witnessing first-hand in Fife, with the start of this flagship industrial innovation investment programme.”


The City Region Deal is ensuring local jobs for local people.  Michael McManus, aged 19, from Glenrothes who is in his first year of a Modern Apprenticeship with Bell Group Kirkcaldy – a branch of the UK’s largest commercial painting and decorating contractor –  is set to work on the site.


Michael said: “Through my apprenticeship, I have been able to work on, and improve, my painting and decorating skills.  I’m confident in my role and I have learnt new skills.  In the future I’ll continue to improve to be the best painter and decorator I can possibly be.”


Cllr Fiona Grant, Convener of the Council’s Glenrothes Area Committee said: “The units are a huge step forward in offering businesses accommodation fit for the future and will help boost economic development across Mid-Fife.  The development includes a connection to the district heating plant, a new access road and car parking on land to the north of Flemington Road.”


Cllr Altany Craik, Convener of the Council’s Economy, Tourism, Planning and Transportation Committee, said: “Our focus in Fife is firmly on fairer economic growth, where everyone benefits from good employment opportunities and regional investments.  The work starting in Glenrothes is the first visible sign of the many positive changes that the City Region Deal will bring.”